Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bread and Leek Pudding

This recipe was adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home book. The recipe for the brioche is in there as well (it’s actually in all his cookbooks), though I’m sure you can Google it as well. This was my contribution to Christmas dinner, and it was a big hit with everyone. Perfect for any sort of Sunday roast dinner.


  •          1 loaf of brioche, cut into 1” cubes
  •          2 cups leeks, rinsed and cut into 1” pieces
  •          4 tablespoons butter
  •          1.5 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  •          1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  •          2 large eggs
  •          2 cups milk
  •          2 cups heavy cream
  •          Nutmeg
  •          Salt
  •          Pepper
  •          ¾ cup Havarti cheese
  •          ¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Sauté the leeks over medium heat for about 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, until they soften. Add the butter, stir everything around, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, toast the bread cubes in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Toss the bread, leeks, rosemary and thyme in a bowl.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk, heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese on the bottom of a 8” x 11.5” baking pan. Add ½ the bread mixture, top with 1/3 of the cheese. Add the remaining bread mixture, and toss on the rest of the cheese. Pour in the milk and cream mixture and let the bread soak for 15 minutes. Bake in a 350° oven for an hour, or until the bread on top is brown and the custard is set.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tourtière with Mushroom Sauce

I adapted this recipe from one of the “Best of Bridge” books, apparently the quintessential cookbook series of late 70’s Canadian cooking. Or at least, they were good enough for both my mom and grandmother to own the entire collection. Here’s what it looks like when you mangle the first piece:

I have to say, this ended up tasting even better than it sounds. The crust was incredibly flaky, the filling was herb-y…herbaceous? It tasted like Christmas, if that makes any sense. Here's the recipe:

Ingredient list:
  • 1 lb, mix of ground beef/pork/veal
  • ½ cup onions, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms(I used crimini)
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ½ cup dry red wine
Pie crust:
  • 12 oz all purpose flour
  • 4 oz. of butter (1 stick)
  • 4 oz. vegetable shortening
  • 4 oz. cold water
  • ½ tsp salt
For the pie crust: Pre heat the oven to 325F Mix flour with salt. Add to food processor along with butter and shortening, and pulse a few times until the butter and shortening are the size of pebbles. Turn the food processor on, and pour in the cold water. Remove the dough from the food processor and split into 2 halves, reserving one half in the fridge for later. Butter & flour a 9” pie pan. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and line the pie pan with it. Cover the dough with foil, and place dry beans or pie weights on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, then uncover and cook for 10-15 minutes more. Let cool.
For the filling: Pre heat the oven to 425F. In a 10” skillet, brown the meat. Pour off excess fat, and transfer meat to a plate. Add onion to skillet, cook until translucent, then add garlic and cook for about a minute longer. Add the meat back into the skillet, along with the herbs, mustard, and water. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed but the mixture is still moist. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Mix in bread crumbs and pour into pie crust. Grab the top crust out of the fridge, roll it out and place on top. Cut slashes on top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and cook for 30 more minutes, or until well browned.
For the sauce: Melt 2 tbsp butter in a 12” pan, add onions and mushrooms and sauté for about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate. Melt 2 tbsp butter and add 2 tbsp flour, whisking vigorously to form a roux. Allow the roux to cook for about 2 minutes, until golden. Add beef stock and wine, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and thicken. Add onions, mushrooms back into the sauce and serve warm with the tourtière.